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Party of Lincoln and 73

These two current ‘Stros have a combined 693 career dingers. Who am I talking about?

Commentary has been laughing all week at some GOPers’ feeble defense of Confederate statues. When GOPers say they are members of the “Party of Lincoln”, laugh in their faces. Honestly? Do you think President Abraham Lincoln would approve of the statues?

Check this from the E-Board today:

Monuments honoring the Confederacy were erected for a very specific reason – to wipe out the memory of Reconstruction-era equality that briefly existed after the Civil War and replace it with a myth of the Lost Cause.

This intense and pervasive effort was launched decades after the Civil War had ended, during a period of time, roughly 1890-1920, that historians view as a nadir for African-Americans. Thousands were lynched and rigid segregation laws were implemented throughout the South. These edifices remain a testament to those decades of hate.

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Buried-history-11882660.php.

Silly and stupid. Just shut up! Party of Lincoln, my arse!

This is from the SA Express News:

Mayor Ivy Taylor, soon after she lost her June runoff, filed a claim for unemployment benefits from the city of San Antonio through the Texas Workforce Commission, sources said.

The city contacted Taylor after she filed the claim, the sources said, and recommended that she withdraw it because it would otherwise be rejected. Taylor tried, they said, but the Texas Workforce Commission would not allow the claim to be withdrawn.

According to the Unemployment Compensation Act in the state’s Labor Code, elected officials do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said Thursday that he’d heard Taylor had filed a claim for unemployment benefits — a first for him. He called Taylor’s actions “really strange.”

“I lost two races. I should have thought of that when I lost,” Wolff joked.

Sad, if you ask me.

This is from Steve Houston:

Reports are that the City Secretary’s office hasn’t finished counting the pension petition to even start the pay parity petition, the deadline coming next week making it seem like both will be put off to the future. The firefighters demanding Ms. Russell set aside the first one to benefit their cause should understand that they never lifted a finger to help any other petition so why should they get to re-write the rules in their favor?

They could have started the petition drive last year when their pension representatives broke ranks as the city decided the initial cuts were not enough but they banked on political support from people well known to oppose worker’s rights, unions, DB pensions and the like; everyone knowing it was only a matter of time before those politicians took the opportunity to do what they do. I think they should take the offered raise for now and continue the fight via referendum next May or whenever the next election it can be heard. They just feel the public won’t give them a second boost after a 9.5% raise so they are sitting on it as though the offer will remain open forever…it won’t. Their social media campaign now suggests the city demanded concessions to get the 9.5% raise but when asked, not a single one of them can point any concessions out which sounds like more stonewalling.

73 is the record. That is what the record book says. I am talking about most dingers in a season set by Barry Bonds in 2001. I witnessed in person #70 off of Wilfredo Rodriguez at The Yard on October 4, 2001. That was the series that was made up after 9/11. ‘Stros fans were cheering and wanted to see Bonds tie the record of 70 set by Mark McGwire in 1998. That kind of upset ‘Stros Skipper Larry Dierker. Why am I talking about this? Check this from Yardbarker:

Giancarlo Stanton may have very little chance at surpassing Barry Bonds’ single-season record of 73 home runs, but the Miami Marlins star is eyeing a number that is certainly attainable and he believes is more legitimate.

That number is 61.

Stanton, who is currently on pace to hit 60 homers, said Wednesday that he considers 61 — the single-season home run mark set by Roger Maris in 1961, to be the real home run record.

“When you grow up watching all the old films of Babe Ruth and [Mickey] Mantle and those guys, 61 has always been that printed number as a kid,” Stanton said, via Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald.

Catching Ruth’s mark of 60 would be quite the milestone, but Stanton said he considers that remarkable season tainted because baseball remained segregated in 1927. The five seasons better than Maris’ 61-homer season belong to Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. They all took place during the height of baseball’s steroid era.

“Considering some things I do (think those are tainted),” Stanton said. “But at the same time it doesn’t matter. The record is the record. But personally I think I do.”

Stanton did not homer in Miami’s 8-1 win over the San Francisco Giants Wednesday, snapping a streak of six straight games with a big fly. He now has 44 home runs on the season with 43 games remaining.

If you want to know if Stanton could surpass the 70-homer mark this season, just ask one of his teammates. But if the 27-year-old slugger gets to 61, a lot of people would agree that he has tied the “real” home run record.

Talk all you want. When you get to 73 or 74 we can talk about you tying or setting the record. That’s what the record book says.

I am for this. Donald Trump probably isn’t. From USA Today:

Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry said it is time to rename Yawkey Way, the road outside Fenway Park that is a nod to former team owner who resisted integrating his club more than a decade after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947.

Henry told the Boston Herald in an email that he’s “haunted” by the street’s name and would be in favor of changing it to Big Papi Way as a tribute to former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Any change would have to be approved by Boston city officials.

Here is the entire read: http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/red-sox-owner-john-henry-citing-racist-past-wants-to-change-name-of-yawkey-way/ar-AAqfXt8?ocid=UE01DHP.

Then this from Yahoo Sports:

Before considering the debate over whether Tom Yawkey was so racist he should no longer have a street named after him in Boston, know this: he was a terrible baseball owner.

From 1933 to his death in 1976, his Boston Red Sox never won a World Series and rarely won anything at all, reaching the postseason just three times. The occasional generational talent that would arrive (Ted Williams, most notably) would wither away via futility and frugality. Part of this was because of a stubborn inability to see obviously emerging trends, his most famous failure born from bigotry.

The Red Sox were the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate, in 1959, a full 12 seasons after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Brooklyn. Yawkey was so opposed to employing a black player, he chose, for a dozen seasons, to run his team at a decided competitive disadvantage. He demonstrably cared more about having an all-white team than winning.

He actually could have signed Robinson. In 1945, Boston politicians forced the Red Sox to have a tryout for African-American players under threat that they wouldn’t allow games to be played on Sunday. Robinson was one of three players brought to a sham of a workout. Robinson impressed the assembled media and some scouts, but never stood a chance with Yawkey.

Again, the entire read: https://sports.yahoo.com/let-people-boston-decide-fate-yawkey-way-001722029.html.

Carlos Beltran with 435 and Brain McCann with 258 have a combined 693 career dingers of course.

4 ½ games over the Red Sox with the A’s in for three.

 

Erasing Fake History

Name the only MLBer with over 100 RBIs?

If Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have a problem with Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, they should get their arses out to San Antonio and beat him in next year’s GOP Primary. Recruit a candidate and each donate a million from their campaign account. They have it. They have six months. That ought to be plenty of time. Commentary is thinking it is all talk.

Please! Removing a Johnny Reb statue is not erasing history. Don’t even let the Johnny Reb supporters argue this point with you. Tell them to take a picture and save it on their iCloud. The other thing is, tell them to learn the correct history. Why were these statues erected in the first place?   Erasing history? That is the most stupid argument – period.

The H-Town Mayor wants some city employees to assess the city’s Confederate statue situation. I don’t know what there is to assess. To me you point to it, bring in a crew, and remove the sucker. Pretty simple.

This has been made a whole lot easier this morning now that Donald Trump called the statues “beautiful.”

This is from the Chron E-Board today:

What do those Cabinet members standing beside the ranter-in-chief on Tuesday afternoon do? They looked “stunned and disheartened” themselves, as did the newly installed White House chief of staff, retired Marine General John Kelly.

As a matter of principle, one would expect that Kelly and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and others would resign. Corporate leaders serving on Trump’s executive councils had begun to peel away, before the president disbanded the councils. Perhaps their resignations were born of pragmatism; after all, association with racist proclivities can’t be good for business. Whatever the motive, their departure delivered a message.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Isolate-Trump-11824674.php.

Really?   Sure, like we are going to see Rick Perry resign. Perry and others like him knew exactly who they went to work for.

Steve Houston sent this:

Again, there are not that many people associated with these groups to secure anything, never mind a presidential nomination. They just don’t amount to a blip on the political map in term of numbers these days, any support they give leading to far greater numbers of people less likely to support a candidate. The clown circus known as the GOP primaries were more a process of elimination showing candidates trying to get traction in individual states, most running out of resources as they bounced around the country.trying to convince primary voters they were the best thing since the invention of the wheel.

Realistically, there are said to be well under 10 thousand members of the KKK, a group that used to number in the millions. True nazis or “neo-nazis” are also a small band of misfits spewing their hatred to tiny audiences, when was the last time they marched to a crowd that didn’t outnumber them 10 to 1 or more? And actual white supremacists, not the garden variety bigots we’ve all encountered over the years but someone who believes strong enough in his cause to actually march in public or take some affirmative action promoting his cause?!? There just aren’t enough to matter in a nationwide political contest.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous, nor does it mean they should go unchecked, all hate groups should be stood up to, but empowering them by suggesting their influence nominates presidents or constitutes a large part of a sitting president’s base of support only does them a favor. As far as the statues are concerned, that’s a slippery slope. To some out there, every statue of George Washington, the “Father of our country”, amounts to a reminder how millions were brought here in chains as slaves. Every statue to Abe Lincoln represents a power grab by federal authorities over states rights to others, FDR statues symbolize the move towards a handout state, and so forth. Sure, those views are held by relatively small numbers but one man’s hero is another man’s villain; at what point do we draw the line? Are we going to rename cities like Houston as we do schools?

So let the losers march down Main street USA where the vast majority can boo them, marginalize them, and ridicule their outdated beliefs. Leave the statues up as historical reminders of how crazy some people were in years past, not as symbols of worship but as examples of how far we’ve moved forward. And either stop naming schools and buildings after people altogether or leave them be to start reasoned discussions.

What is the over/under for the Houston Firefighters getting their petitions validated? So much for dancing with who brung you.

Nolan Arenado of the Rockies leads MLB with 103 RBIs of course.

We won last night. We still have a five-game lead on the Red Sox. We would have to go 26-16 the rest of the way to reach 100.

Giving Cover to Bigots

“President Trump needs to listen to the people before he takes this presidency in a place that is not acceptable for our country.” – GOP Ohio Governor John Kasich on “Today” show this morning.

Nope! Nope! Donald Trump took it there yesterday.

Commentary said this yesterday:

I watched Donald Trump read his statement yesterday. You know he just hated to read it. Most times he enjoys telling a lie.

Well that didn’t last long. He took it all back yesterday.

Over the last couple of days, those folks that keep insisting that somehow and some way, “both” sides should take responsibility for the violence in Charlottesville this past weekend are quite simply cowards.

Those that don’t call out Donald Trump for placing blame on “both” sides are quite simply cowards.

If Donald Trump wants to play Bigot-In-Chief and give cover to White Supremacists, the KKK, and Neo-Nazis because they were key to his getting the GOP nomination and winning the election last November, that is his choice.

If folks want to defend him, side with him, work for him, support him, that is their choice if they want to support bigotry. There is no other way to explain this.

And don’t buy into to this crap that his staff was “stunned” and that Trump went “rogue.”  They know who they are working for.  If they want to continue to be part of bigotry, it is their choice.

AP put this out recently:

At AP, we have taken the position that the term “alt-right” should be avoided because it is meant as a euphemism to disguise racist aims. So use it only when quoting someone or when describing what the movement says about itself. Enclose the term “alt-right” in quotation marks or use phrasing such as the so-called alt-right (no quote marks when using the term so-called) or the self-described “alt-right.”

And where does this “alt-left” term crap come from. F__k you! Some of us may be liberal or progressive (Commentary prefers liberal), but we are not wacko or extreme.  We support equality.

Commentary has to be honest with you all. I didn’t know until a couple of days ago that we had a Confederate statue on city property.

Yesterday was pretty dark if you ask me. No MLB talk today.

HISD Caretaker

Name the MLB club with the most roadie wins this season?

Add a sixth HISD race to the mix this year. Voters in HISD District 3 will get to elect a trustee this November. The HISD Board decided to go with a caretaker to fill the current vacancy. That’s a good thing. Here is from the Chron:

In a unanimous closed session vote, the Houston ISD Board of Trustees decided Monday to appoint Jose Leal to the District III seat left vacant after the unexpected death earlier this month of long-time Trustee Manny Rodriguez Jr.

Leal launched his career in education at HISD in 1981. After getting a start in operations and maintenance, he worked as a bilingual teacher at Pugh Elementary, a counselor at Hamilton Middle, a Dean of Students at Johnston Middle and an assistant principal at Wheatley High and North Forest.

Currently, he’s an administrator at HCAN Academies.

“Jose Leal was the only candidate who met the caretaker qualifications the board was looking for in this temporary appointment,” Trustee Wanda Adams said. “The Board would like to thank the other candidates who wanted to volunteer their time.”

Leal will be sworn in at the Board’s next monthly meeting and will serve until a November special election.

Now let’s see if the voters get it right and elect a strong and qualified individual.

Good for A&M for cancelling the White Supremacist rally. Nice job!

Speaking of, Commentary doesn’t have a problem with confederacy statues standing at their own risk. Take them all down!

I watched Donald Trump read his statement yesterday. You know he just hated to read it. Most times he enjoys telling a lie.

How do you feel about this? I am talking about the headline for today’s Chron editorial:

Clean out the White House

Bannon and Gorka must go.

Here is the read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Clean-out-the-White-House-11818595.php.

Commentary prefers that they stay put. The more problems they have, the less likely to carry out their dangerous agenda – just saying.

Steve Houston posted me this today:

I completely agree about Dunkirk, a passable movie but far from the epic some have been proclaiming, the Hollywood hype machine never to be believed.

Regarding: “Did you really think Donald Trump was going to call out the Klan, White Supremacists, and Neo-Nazis? Please. They are huge part of his base.”

I admit to having very limited knowledge of such groups outside of mainstream news coverage or a few sociology classes years ago but the FBI, ADL and Southern Poverty Law Center suggest that none of those groups is particularly large, every public appearance by one showing the locals spitting on them, counter protesting, and jeering them like the loser trash most agree they are. I’m not a trump supporter but with 63 million votes to his name, just how small do you think his “base” is/was? The only group of these wackos to show any growth in recent decades are prison gangs, hardly the basis of a voting base given restrictions on felons voting, yes? (“With Hate in their Hearts: The State of White Supremacy in the United States” by the ADL supports their lack of traction)

The ‘Stros lead MLB with 39 roadie wins. We lost last night and so did the Red Sox.

On HISD

Did you really think Donald Trump was going to call out the Klan, White Supremacists, and Neo-Nazis? Please. They are huge part of his base. They were part of his campaign last year. Never forget!

How about those fellas who were holding the torches Friday night and made it to a kazillion computer screens? I here they are all out of work this morning.

July 25 was the day the ‘Stros called me to let me know they were sticking it to me on next season’s tickets. What was our record the day they called me and how have we fared since?

Huh? Did you check out the headlines from yesterday’s lead Chron editorial?

Save HISD

Mayor Turner is the only person who can rally Houston behind our failing schools.

The editorial starts out like this:

Welcome to Houston’s latest political train wreck. If you thought the city’s pension problems were a complex and explosive policy debate, get ready to deal with a potential state takeover of our local public schools. The ensuing fight promises to pit special interests against taxpayers, charters against the teachers union and local control against state authority.

There is no mention of the Mayor until the very end with this:

Mayor Sylvester Turner proved himself capable of crafting a solution once thought impossible for Houston’s pensions, and we again look to him to save our failing schools. If Turner can’t do it, the only person left will be Mike Morath – commissioner of the TEA.

Ok. If you say so.

Here is what I found interesting about the editorial:

Anyone looking to the Board of Trustees for a solution will be tempted to call for the TEA cavalry. Meetings routinely descend into chaos. Debate is replaced with bullying and bluster. Individual members seem more interested in promoting their own myopic political agenda than educating students.

If trustees want to save their jobs, they need to let the superintendent do his. This means allowing Richard Carranza to set the agenda when it comes to hiring, firing and overall management of HISD’s 283 schools.

Carranza, too, needs to step up and push back against board members who treat their districts like a political fiefdom. While the nine trustees may have hired him, Carranza’s real responsibility is to the 200,000 students who fill the classrooms each day.

It kind of reminds me of that Op-Ed that came out a few weeks ago from the GPS folks. Once again, they don’t specifically call out the guilty trustees, but I think we all know who they are talking about.

Look, the Mayor can certainly have a leadership role in saving some schools. He does have a Director of the Mayor’s Office of Education.   What have they been up to?

Other folks can help out too, including the business community. Ultimately though it comes down to the Superintendent and the school board. A test today could come when the Board fills the trustee vacancy if they pick the person most capable of making a positive contribution.

Here is the entire editorial: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Save-HISD-11758408.php.

We could very well have six HISD trustee campaigns this year.

Commentary checked out “Dunkirk” this past weekend on IMAX. Was it the “greatest war film ever?” Nope. Nope. No debate. Not even close.

It is a good flick and I recommend.

It is different. You never really see the Germans. You don’t really know anything about the soldiers. The only Brits that fight are the fighter pilots and a few ship gunners. The rest are running, hiding, ducking, or swimming. I guess it is a war movie but really, it is more like a survival flick.

When the ‘Stros called me back on July 25, we were sitting at 66-33. Today we are 72-45 and have gone 6-12 since. The ticket gouging jinx?

Our lead for the best record in the AL is five games.

Pasadena Positive

Commentary was watching online folks paying respect to Governor Mark White’s casket in the State Capitol rotunda. I saw my old friend State Rep. Roberto Alonzo (Dallas) chat briefly with former First Lady Linda Gale White. It so happens, late yesterday afternoon, Rep. Alonzo called me and we chatted for nearly an hour catching up and stuff. It was good to hear from him.

Here from the Statesman is a couple of minutes or so video of folks yesterday on Gov. White including Rep. Alonzo who gives me a mention for working for Gov. White: http://video.statesman.com/Former-Texas-Governor-Mark-White-remembered-32816773?playlistId=15517.

Kuffer today has take on who is raising money in the HISD races. Yes, there are races for HISD trustee positions this November. Here is the take: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=81709.

Don’t you hate it when folks defend liars when they know they are not telling the truth. That is why I am glad Jeffrey Lord is no longer on CNN. He is four star jerk for sure – adios.

Come on folks! Things are looking a lot better in Pasadena. You know it, so just say it. Here is from Mike Snyder of the Chron:

Jeff Wagner took the oath of office as Pasadena’s mayor on July 1. In a sense, though, it was just this week that he truly emerged as an independent leader.

The moment came not in a rousing speech, but in a news release distributed via email. It landed in my inbox at 9:51 a.m. Wednesday.

“Pasadena mayor plans to bring bus service back to the city,” the headline states. City officials, according to the announcement, are working out details of a plan to resume – and improve on – the service provided by Harris County Transit from 2010 to 2012.

The decision is important for practical and symbolic reasons.

Resuming bus service will help thousands of Pasadena residents get to their jobs, medical appointments and other destinations. It will provide mobility to those without cars and an alternative to others who may find the modest fare ($1 for a single ride) easier on their budgets than paying for gasoline, insurance and maintenance.

But Wagner’s decision also represents a policy break from his predecessor, Johnny Isbell, who’d served as mayor on and off since 1981 but couldn’t seek re-election this year due to term limits. The City Council voted 5 to 3 in October 2012 to end the service, but the council was following the lead of Isbell’s administration.

And this:

Many of the working-class residents of Pasadena’s mostly Latino north side – the people most likely to benefit from bus service – might not have voted for Wagner. His decision to restore the service shows that he is reaching out beyond his base on the city’s more affluent, predominantly Anglo south side.

And this:

City Councilman Cody Ray Wheeler, a Latino who was part of a group that consistently opposed Isbell on contentious issues, told me this week that he remains optimistic about the new administration – even though Wagner, as a councilman, usually sided with Isbell.

Wheeler said the bus service decision was encouraging. He also mentioned the recent announcement of planned improvements to Richey Street on the city’s north side – a project that had languished under Isbell.

But the biggest difference, Wheeler said, is that the new mayor is far more collaborative than his predecessor.

“He doesn’t have his boot heels dug in on everything,” Wheeler said. “I understand we’re not going to get everything we want, but we’re working together.”

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/greater-houston/article/New-Pasadena-mayor-shows-independence-with-bus-11748851.php?t=6b04cf02ed#photo-13192608.

Things are looking positive in Pasadena. Don’t you think?

I am skipping the MLB question again.

The ‘Stros are not playing good baseball these days. I watched last night’s game – sigh. I can’t help but think this may be a ticket jinx. Greed is not good. Was it worth it? We could very well be on our way to lose the AL home field advantage.

48 games left.

Struggling ‘Stros

Commentary attended Governor Mark White’s memorial service yesterday. It was well attended and very nice.

Change is happening in Pasadena, Texas. From a press release from the Pasadena Mayor:

Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner has taken the first steps to restore Pasadena’s inter-city bus service. In recent weeks, the mayor and other city officials have been meeting with representatives from Harris County Transit Services to discuss reinstating bus service.

A proposed plan is currently being finalized and includes four routes that total roughly 70 linear miles. The routes have been designed to provide service to many low-income areas within Pasadena, as well as those where transportation needs are the highest.

“Many of our citizens have requested that we create some type of transit system throughout our city,” Mayor Wagner said. “The Harris County Transit system we had at one time seemed like a good option, but we’ve been working together to find ways to enhance that service even more. I am grateful for the support we are receiving from Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Jack Morman and everyone at Harris County Transit.”

Together, they have been reviewing potential routes and bus stop options to ensure that the new system serves the community more effectively and productively than the 2010-2012 route structure.

“After reviewing what we had previously, improvements were added to ensure that we had more access to things like county courts, medical facilities, the Social Security office, schools, grocery stores and shopping,” Mayor Wagner said.

The proposed routes include stops at San Jacinto College, Strawberry Clinic and Bayshore Medical Center, as well as at retail, grocery and pharmacy chains, such as Walmart, Kroger, Fiesta, HEB, CVS and Walgreens. The service would also give Pasadena residents access to existing Harris County Transit routes and would connect to the Houston METRO system near Richey Road.

Here is from the Chron:

The city of 150,000 has had no mass transit since former Mayor Johnny Isbell ended its agreement with Harris County Transit. Isbell said not enough people rode the buses to justify the cost to the city, which totaled about $226,000  in 2012.

Nice going, Pasadena!

This happened yesterday from the Chron:

Houston ISD trustees were defiant a day after being warned of a possible state takeover, arguing that they’re already turning around troubled schools and don’t need outside meddling from Austin bureaucrats.

Trustees on Wednesday heralded improved school ratings from the state and vowed to invest in long-struggling schools, which must improve to avoid potential state intervention. If about a dozen chronically failing schools don’t meet state academic standards by 2018, it would trigger provisions of a Texas law that could result in campus closures or the appointment of a school board manager.

“We intend to fight this in the classroom,” Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones said. “We think our kids are capable of learning. We are going to give them the tools to do that.”

Under the law, passed by the Legislature in 2015, any district with a school receiving five consecutive “improvement required” ratings faces state intervention.

Texas Education Association officials warned Houston-area lawmakers in a meeting Monday of the possibility of a state takeover of HISD, one of several large urban districts facing such an action. The 2015 law largely flew under the radar prior to the meeting and subsequent media reports.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/HISD-trustees-push-back-against-state-takeover-11746574.php.

I get it. Come and take it. Of course, all this does is highlight the failing schools. The total focus needs to be on improving the schools.

Commentary is back to talking about the ‘Stros. Even though we still have the second best record in baseball, we are not playing like we do. We are struggling. Our pitching is not holding up. Dallas Keuchel is having problems. Lance McCullers, Jr. is dinged up. Carlos Correa is still on the DL. Right now, I don’t think we would survive the first round in the playoffs. Ticket karma?

I will have the MLB question tomorrow.